Black Lives Matter, the hashtag-turned-movement-turned-global network was co-founded by Bay Area native Alicia Garza in collaboration with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi. Since its founding following the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012, the movement has inspired groups and protests worldwide, most recently in the wake of George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police. The summer of 2020 saw Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Hong Kong, Dakar, Berlin and other cities around the world. In some places, like Bristol, England, protesters toppled racist statues as well.
Since the announcement and an article in The Guardian, Eide says he's been receiving angry calls and "quite nasty" emails from Americans who disagree with the nomination because they say the movement has been violent. But Eide emphasizes that based on studies, more than 93% of demonstrations have involved no serious harm to people or property, according to a report tracking political violence in the United States.
Eide, who previously worked for Amnesty International before becoming a Norwegian MP, sees BLM as a human rights issue. “We in Amnesty, in the human rights movement, we are very concerned about basic human rights,” Eide said. He says he sees BLM as having a direct connection to bringing and maintaining peace.
Eide says BLM has been able to take the conversation on justice to the next level. “I believe that they have been able to raise a new consciousness and awareness on racial injustice,” he said. “They have spread that message throughout the world like no one else has been able to.”